Feature Friday: The Breakers in Newport

Happy Friday to you all!  This week’s Feature Friday is a little different from the norm, because we just got back from Cape Cod and visited Newport, RI, where we saw some incredible mansions from the Gilded Age.  This adventure was one of my favorites from our trip and I can’t wait to share The Breakers with you, the largest of the Newport summer cottages. That little phrase made me chuckle a bit, as this house is anything but a cottage.

Built by the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, Cornelius II commissioned Richard Morris Hunt (the same architect who designed the Biltmore in Asheville, NC), to design and build this home, a 70 room Italian Renaissance- style palazzo inspired by European 16th century palaces.  It is one impressive home and I hope you enjoy seeing what we saw. I was so happy that they allowed pictures inside, as they don’t allow photos in the Biltmore.  I took lots, so I hope you’re ready to see all the extravagant fixtures and furnishings.  It’s an amazing place, to say the least!  My mouth was agape the whole time we were touring, looking up at the magnificent ceilings and all the other stunning features.

I’m not going to try to narrate all the way through, since I’m not an expert on the interior at all, so for more information, click that link I have above.  Apparently there are a lot of events held at The Breakers and I can only imagine how much fun that would be, to attend a party or festive event in this gorgeous setting.

As we go through the stately gates, enjoy the tour, you’re going to be amazed. They don’t call it the Gilded Age for nothing!


It was such a fun tour!  I enjoyed The Breakers most of all, but I also took photos of 3 of the other houses too, so if you’d like to see them all, let me know.  Honestly, they all started running together after the first couple of tours, so much opulence and over the top features to be seen.  But, it sure was fun to see how they lived back in the early 1900’s in these homes, that had the latest and greatest features and amenities of their time.

Mark and I are watching Downton Abbey together, his first time and my second all the way through the series.  All I could think about was how that show brings to life the way it must have been back then and how the Lords and Ladies lived in England.  The Vanderbilts and all of those others who built these mansions were the royalty of the US during their time.  I can’t imagine living like that, but it sure was fun to see in person.  This area of Newport was the summer getaway for the rich and famous of that time. I can imagine the parties that were held in these homes, something to behold!

- Rhoda


  1. Good morning Rhoda! Thank you for sharing-so much fun!! I enjoyed seeing everything-from the fancy to the mundane-that was some kitchen!! Please do share the other houses. 👍🏻

  2. WOW! All that detail is amazing and those ceilings were stunning. I can totally see why you loved this tour.

  3. I loved the “Un-Kitchen” and the Butler’s Pantry!!! I think this nears the opulence of the Tsarist Russian palaces…

  4. Incredible! You just made me want to plan a trip Rhoda, jaw dropping opulence! I have been to the Biltmore in Asheville several times. It never gets old. I would LOVE to see more pictures 🙂

  5. I went to RI some years back to do this tour of homes. I too felt like they all blurred together after awhile but do totally remember the Breakers. So to jog my memory I would love to see the other homes you toured. Thank you

  6. Becky in 'Bama says

    Definitely grand – and I’d say the plaster work is one step up from the Biltmore. Opulence. I do wonder – is all the furniture original? or some replacements that date to that period? It just all looks so fresh. Could be original pieces refurbished. Thanks for the photos – doubt I’ll ever see it firsthand. Happy Friday.

    • Hi, Becky, I’m not sure about the furniture here, but they did say in some of the houses, that they had to go out and find furnishings of the period to fill them up, so all of this may not be original either. These homes have gone through many owners, but not sure about The Breakers. I’m just glad the Preservation Society has them now and keeps them intact. Many of these mansions were slated to be demolished back in the 60’s, so glad they were saved.

  7. I think everyone who visits Newport and the mansions gets a real chuckle out of the term “Summer Cottages”. Boy, what a cottage! However, these mansions that were built during this period where only used during the summer months and then closed up after the season. Can you image? We also went to Doris Dukes mansion who was the late tobacco heiress and her home although smaller than the Breakers was so interesting. She hosted many parties that included Jackie Kennedy and other socialites.

    • Hi, Teresa, we heard about the other houses too, but only made it to the 5 that are part of the Newport Preservation. And yes, we did hear they only used the homes about 8 weeks out of the year, which sounds crazy. Such gorgeous splendor!

  8. Stunning! I can see the resemblance to the Biltmore (it was on my bucket list and I got to go this year during our Spring Break)!!!

  9. You did a fabulous job capturing the beauty of the Breakers, would love to see the other homes you visited.

  10. So many beautiful pictures. Would love to see the rest!

  11. Hi Rhoda, I have been following your blog for many years and work for the City of Newport. I am so glad you enjoyed the mansions. All of the houses are amazing, but hopefully you saw the grounds of the Elms as that is my favorite. Thanks for showcasing Newport.

    • Hi, Daryl, wow small world! Thank you for the note. We had a great time in Newport and I’m sure we’ll go back again. It was rainy when we toured the Elms, so we didn’t get to see the grounds that day. I was so impressed with all the homes, such a wonderful era to showcase!

  12. Another vote for seeing more pictures.
    My hubby and I just returned from a trip to Monterey, California, and took a tour of The Del Monte Hotel from the same era. For anyone interested in color, design and period furnishings these sights are really inspiring. Thanks for sharing your travel photos.

  13. Charlotte Petricca says

    Thank you for sharing your fabulous trip. I have been to Biltmore several times especially at Christmas. Now I can’t wait to go see the Breakers. Your pictures were beautiful. Please share pictures of the other tours.

  14. Newport is an really interesting place to tour. We had family live in RI for a few years and enjoyed touring it twice. We especially loved touring when the homes were decorated for Christmas!

  15. Patricia Dowd says

    Hi Rhoda, Just wanted to compliment you on the very professional photography! You did aa absolutely wonderful job! It was like I was there! Most enjoyable tour! Thank you!

    • Thank you, I was very pleased with my pics and how they all turned out. I think I captured our vacation well and I have lots more to share.

  16. diane in northern wis says

    Wow….what a house. I couldn’t believe all the rooms and all the staircases and fancy ceilings etc.etc.etc. What it must have been like to live there. I would definitely love to see the other houses you and Mark toured. What fun! Thanks fo ra great blog!

  17. Rhoda, was this the mansion that had a gilded bathtub? Also, indoor salt water tub? You’re right, they all blur together after a bit! Yes, share more!

  18. There is a similar mansion out here, close to the central California coast, called Hearst Castle. The original owner was William Randolph Hearst, the publishing magnate. It’s a national and California historical landmark. I think the Breakers is more tastefully decorated; Hearst Castle was too opulent for me.

  19. My daughter and I were there a couple of years ago and my favorite room was the kitchen. I loved all of the hanging copper pots. I had just started on my journey to minimalism and thought what would I do with all of this stuff and space!! Loved your pics, they brought back fun memories!

  20. Laurel Bates says

    Beautiful photos! Also, they started allowing photographs inside the Biltmore a couple of years ago. That made me very happy!

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